Muscat, Maskat, or Masqat (all: mŭsˈkăt, mŭsˈkət) [key], city (1993 pop. 533,774), capital of Oman, SE Arabia, on the Gulf of Oman. It is flanked by rugged mountains. Muscat, which has a fine harbor, was seized by the Portuguese Afonso de Albuquerque in 1508 and kept by Portugal until 1648. Persian princes held it until 1741, when it became the capital of Oman. Dates, dried fish, mother-of-pearl, and frankincense are exported, although much of Muscat's trade has been taken over by neighboring Matrah, which has better land communications.